majority of terminology below refers primarily to the U.S. Navy
and/or to U.S. submarines. Several items, however are specific to
both U-boats and the German Kriegsmarine and are so noted.
- Anti aircraft
- US Army Air Forces
- Toward the stern of a boat or a
Abaft the beam
- Any direction between the beam and
- A position 090° or 270° relative to
the ship's heading.
- Sailors version of backgammon
- A torpedo that dtects its target by
means of sound, and uses that sound to steer along its path.
- Anti Circling Run device
- A body of law that deals with
- (Kriegsmarine) U-Boat codebook used
in diguising ocean chart grid positions in radio transmissions.
- The distance gained in the original
course when turning.
- A position to the rear or the rear
extremity of a given object.
- Variable ballast tank used to adjust
the a submarine's weight and tilting movement.
-Groups of large air bottles located
in midship ballast tanks to store high pressure air for charging
torpedoes, blowing tanks, and other services.
- Main section
of the submarine behind the control room; houses battery cells and
crew living and dining spaces.
- Allied Intelligence Bureau
- The Mid Atlantic region that, until
1943, was not covered by British and/or American ASW aircraft.
- A series of valves through which
compressed air at 600 psi can be fed into tanks at reduced pressure.
- Emergency dive order on a U-Boat.
Amps a side
- A measure of motor speed by means of
current consumption on older types of boats.
Amphibious tractor, used to ferry troops in a landing assault ashore
- Detail of hands standing by as a
readiness precaution while the ship is in port.
Angle on the Boat
- The angle of the keel from
Angle on the Bow
- The angle between the
fore-and-aft axis of the target and the Line of Sight (LOS),
measured clockwise from the target's bow to starboard (right) or
- An electro mechanical signaling
device for sending orders to the engine room.
- Oil tanker
- Troop transport ship (non-landing)
- Non directional radar detector.
- German device used to confuse radar
by reflecting impulses.
- US Navy gun crews serving aboard a
- Depth charges
- A position or location behind the
- A viewing screen of the surface
- Acronym for the British
Anti-Submarine Detection Investigation Committee; the name given
to a device housed under the hull of an anti-submarine vessel and
used in detecting the presence of submerged submarines.
- Airborne microwave radar (10 and 3
- Anti-Submarine Warfare.
- Radio detection antenna
- Direction 90° relative to the fore
and aft reference meaning across the ship.
- Condition whereby the seas are
flowing over the surface of an object as in decks awash.
- Variable ballast tanks located
amidships and used to obtain neutral buoyancy and adjust trim; one
tank generally segregated for storing fresh water.
- The bearing of an object from the
observer measured as an angle clockwise from true north.
AVG - American
Volunteer Group (Flying Tigers)
- (Kriegsmarine) water stilt -
auto-gyro like device towed on a cable behind a U-Boat to improve
the field of vision of the "flying lookout".
- Water thrown aft by the turning of a
- A radar detection aerial.
- Heavy weight in the hold of a vessel
to maintain proper stability, trim or draft.
- Sections of the
space between the pressure hull and the outer hull, and saddle tanks
within the torpedo rooms; blown dry to provide positive buoyancy
when the submarine is surfaced and completely flooded to give
neutral buoyancy when submerged.
Small native outrigger
craft used to haul materials. Also a motorboat assigned as
transportation for Admirals.
- A reference course or direction
desired to be made good when evasive steering is being carried out.
(USMC, US Army) Usually about 400-strong, is comprised of three
rifle companies, a combat support company and a headquarters
Water Tanks - Storage tanks for the
distilled water used in watering the main storage batteries.
- A device to record sea temperature
and submarine depth and to show any abrupt temperature change or
- A surfacing operation during which
the submarine is made buoyant by blowing tanks and then held down by
the bow and stern planes and motor power until she leaps forward.
Boats thus handled come up flat, or nearly flat and suddenly
enabling quick deployment of gun crews.
- Dim red lights that furnish
sufficient light for personnel during darken ship period.
Bay of Biscay
- The Atlantic bay between northern
Spain and northwestern France.
- Battleship (USN)
- Battleship Division (USN)
Funkbeobachtungsdienst - German radio monitoring and crytographic
- (Kriegsmarine) Befehlshaber der
Unterseeboote - Commander in Chief, U-Boats; referred specifically
to Admiral Karl Dönitz, but also in reference to his staff and
- Measured dimension of a ship at its
- Used to define the direction of an
object or a course from a particular point.
- U-Boater nickname for aircraft
Bed Pan Commando
- Slang nickname for US Navy Pharmacists Mates
- A log containing the entries of the
various speed and direction orders sent to the engine room.
- An underwater device for measuring
own ship's speed.
- Japanese patrol bomber or torpedo
- Lower part of the vessel where waste
water and seepage collect.
- Allotted sleeping space; A man's
position in the ship's organization.
- Slang for engine room crew.
- A darkened ship.
- To let in a small, controlled amount
of air or water.
- The British Government Code and
Cipher School, located in a large country house in Buckinghamshire,
north of London England.
- Armored bulge in a warship's side as
protection against torpedoes.
- To force water from tanks into the
sea with compressed air.
- A Navy enlisted man below the grade
of CPO; a "white hat."
- A sailor whose main duties pertain
to deck and boat seamanship. Pronounced bosun.
Unidentified (pssibly enemy) aircraft
- Synonym for pigboat, sewer pipe, submarine
- (Kriegsmarine) Device used by
U-Boats to confuse ASDIC
- Slang for a US Navy recruit or
- (Kriegsmarine) A German boat or
warship; the commander is a non staff officer, and the second in
command is called the First Watch Officer, i.e. on a submarine.
- (Kriegsmarine) The gun on the
foredeck of a U-Boat.
- Forward end of a vessel
- An additional ballast tank to
provide extra buoyancy forward when surfacing or in an emergency
- small doors on the outside ends of a
submarine's torpedo doors.
- The pair of horizontal rudders
at the submarine's bow, rigged out on diving to help give initial
down angle, then used in coordination with the stern planes to
Brag Rags -
Miniature Japanese flags displayed on the conning tower or flown
from the periscope shears of WWII US submarines indicating the
number of enemy vessels sunk.
- A raised platform from which a ship
is steered, navigated or conned.
- Prison on a ship or shore base.
- (USMC, US Army) Consists of approximately 2,500 persons commanded
by a colonel. The brigade provides mobility, counter-mobility and
survivability, topographic engineering and general engineering
support to the largest unit - the corps, and augments various
divisions. The brigade may contain combat engineer battalions,
separate engineer companies, assault float bridges, and topographic
and tactical bridge companies.
- The act of breaking through the
surface and rising out of the water, sometimes called porpoising.
- Firing ship's armament or receiving
hostile fire perpendicular to the ship's course.
- A gangplank, ladder or walkway
leading from the ship to the pier.
- (Bureau of Ordnance) Navy Department
responsible for weapons and ordnance.
- (Bureau of Personnel) Navy
Department responsible for personnel (Formerly BuNav)
- (Bureau of Ships) Navy Department
responsible for construction and maintenance of naval ships.
- Traditional nautical term for a wall
or partition on a ship.
- A structural extension of a ship's
sides above the upper deck.
- Storage space for fuel (US) or the
exterior fuel tanks on a U-Boat
Heavy Cruiser (USN)
- Storage batteries.
- Combat Air Patrol (USN)
Ship - A term used throughout WW II to
define the most significant warships in a fleet.
- The officer rank between Rear
Admiral and Commander (USN). Also a naval officer commanding a
- A submarine's outer skin of light
plating which encloses the ballast tanks and pressure hull.
- US cryptanalysis unit (Cavite,
- The formation of a partial vacuum
and resulting air bubbles around rotating propeller blades; the
collapse of this vacuum creates propeller noises.
China-Burma-India; operational area for Allied forces in WW II
- Cruiser Division (USN)
- Japanese anti-submarine vessel; a
type of torpedo boat
Chief of the Boat
- A petty officer in charge of
enlisted personnel; generally one of the most experienced of the
enlisted men on board.
- Change of Operational Control (See
- Panel of red and green lights which
denote whether valves and vents are open or closed.
Japanese word for "squadron"
- Combat Information Center (USN)
- The open, railed platform aft of a
US fleet submarine's bridge. Similar to a U-Boat's wintergarten.
- Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet
- Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet
- A secret letter substitution
communication coding system.
- Light Cruiser (USN)
- Go over the living space decks with
a damp swab.
- Vessels of the same type built to a
common basic design.
- Bridge and engine room instrument
that indicates the amount of a ship's roll or degree of list.
- Chief of Naval Operations (USN)
- Raised framework around deck or
bulkhead openings and cockpits of open boats to prevent the entry of
- Commanding Officer (USN)
- Commander in Chief, United States
- The officer rank between Captain and
Lieutenant Commander (USN).
- (USMC, US Army) Consists of 130 to 150 soldiers or Marines.
Normally commanded by captains and consisting of two or more
platoons, usually of the same type, a headquarters unit and some
logistical capabilities. Companies are the basic elements of all
The process of transferring
ballast, in the form of water, between the variable tanks, and
between the variable tanks and sea, to effect the desired trim.
- Commander Submarine Division (USN)
- Commander Submarine Force, Pacific
- Commander Submarine Squadron (USN)
- Commander Submarine Force, Southwest
- The foremost transverse watertight
bulkhead in a ship that extends from the bottom of the hold to the
- Device for converting exhaust steam
from engines into water for re-use.
- The authority directing the
steersman, or the act of directing and thus maneuvering the ship.
- The small, heavily armored
horizontal hull directly above the control room and below the
bridge. Houses the normal steering stand, torpedo data computer (TDC),
firing panel, surface search radar, periscopes, sound receivers
(except sonic JP), fathometer, navigational plot, and receivers from
the target bearing transmitters (TBT); in essence. the heart of both
the ship and the torpedo fire control.
- Torpedo detonator that explodes upon
striking a solid object; also called a contact fuse.
- The midship compartment containing
all diving controls, the ship's gyrocompass and its auxiliary, the
air search radar, an auxiliary steering stand, the interior
communications switchboard and the radio room.
- A precise assembly of merchant ships
organized in columns and escorted by warships.
(USMC, US Army) The corps is the largest tactical unit. The Corps is
responsible for translating strategic objectives into tactical
orders. It synchronizes tactical operations including maneuvering,
the firing of organic artillery, naval firing, supporting tactical
air operations, and actions of their combat support, bringing
together these operations on the battlefield. Each corps will have
between two and five divisions, depending on the mission.
- A highly maneuverable armed escort
ship, smaller then a destroyer.
- A device, tactic, or material
designed to reduce the effectiveness of an enemy attack.
- Direction steered by a ship.
- Chief Petty Officer USN)
- USN term for an emergency dive by a
- Caribbean Sea Frontier (USN)
- Passive homing torpedo
- Aircraft Carrier (USN)
- Escort Aircraft Carrier (USN)
- Light Aircraft Carrier (USN)
- A type of radar detector.
D-Day - Day on
which an operation is to commence and/or on which troops will depart
(Day of Departure).
- US Navy designation for Destroyer
- Destroyer escort (USN)
- Measures necessary to keep a ship
afloat, fighting and in operational condition.
Davy Jones Locker
- The bottom of the sea.
- Tour of duty on shipboard lasting 24
- Directly ahead of the ship's bow;
bearing 000° relative.
- The difference between a ship's
light and loaded displacement.
- Men of the ship's gunnery crew; all
- An enclosed structure raised above
the weather deck of a vessel.
- Electrical gear which sets up
neutralizing magnetic fields to protect the ship from magnetic
action mines or torpedoes. Pronounced de-gow'sing.
- Explosive charge used against submarines.
- Destroyer Division (USN)
- Destroyer Squadron (USN)
- The weight of a boat or ship, as
measured by the amount of water displaced when placing the vessel in
- An ordered arrangement of two or
more formations proceeding together.
Distance to Track
- The distance in yards to the target
track, measured along a line perpendicular to the target track.
- Division Commander (USN)
Diving Trim -
The condition of a submarine when it is so compensated (see
compensation) that completing the flooding of the main ballast,
safety, and bow buoyancy tanks will cause the vessel to submerge
with neutral buoyancy and zero fore-and-aft trim.
- In an organization of ship groups:
The unit between sections and squadrons; in shipboard operations: a
number of men and officers grouped together for command purposes.
- (USMC, US Army) Divisions perform major tactical operations for
the corps and can conduct sustained battles and engagements. One
division is made up of at least three brigades with between 10,000
and 20,000 soldiers. Divisions are normally commanded by major
generals. Types of divisions include light infantry, armored and
mechanized infantry, airborne and air assault.
Doc - Nickname
for personnel with a medical rank or rating (Doctor, Pharmacist
Mate, Corpsman, Medic)
- Four to six hour trial of main
engines while the ship is moored alongside a pier.
- The pawls securing a watertight door
- Normally the 1600 to 1800 and
1800 to 2000 watches, although any four hour watch may be halved or
- Dead Reckoning position, obtained by
using the ships course, speed and elapsed time.
- Dead Reckoning Indicator; receives
input from the Bendix Log and gyrocompass, and has dials indicating
longitude and latitude.
- The ship's vertical extension below
the waterline at various points along the entire length measured in
feet and inches. Traditionally measured at the stern, bow, and
- (Kriegsmarine) An underwater escape
apparatus for U-Boat crewmen.
(Electric Coding Machine) Standard submarine coding - decoding
device. When operating in shallow coastal waters the ECM was
sometimes left behind to prevent its falling into enemy hands should
the sub become sunk and salvaged; usually a simple strip cipher
device was substituted for the ECM.
- Fathometer; device for measuring the
depth of water by sending out vibrations which bounce back from the
bottom. It measures time taken for the echo to return, and from that
the distance is calculated.
- (Kriegsmarine) U-Boat nickname for a
- Enciphered or coded message.
- Submerged and surfaced maneuver to
pass an enemy convoy and gain position ahead.
Large mushroom shaped valve to provide air to the diesels.
- Signaling gear
for transmitting speed and direction from the bridge to the engine
- (Kriegsmarine) The Schussel M cipher
machine also used in reference to the machine's encrypted message.
- A ship or aircraft used to protect a
merchant ship, main body, or convoy.
- (CVE) Small aircraft carrier,
usually built of a merchant ship hull, designed for anti submarine
- Officer rank between Lieutenant (jg)
and Chief Warrant Officer. (USN)
- Eastern Sea Frontier (USN)
tank - Connected between the head box and
the compensating water main, admits sea pressure to the fuel oil
tanks. It receives any overflow from the fuel tanks resulting either
from overfilling the fuel system or from temperature expansion. The
bilges are pumped into this tank to prevent leaving an oil slick or
polluting a harbor.
- A small, thick glass window in
watertight doors and also in the conning tower.
- The US Navy Atlantic Section,
Intelligence Center, first called OP-20-G at Main Navy; an exact
clone of the OIC submarine Tracking Room of the British Admiralty,
it began operations in spring 1942.
- (Kriegsmarine) Federapparat torpedo
- An anti convoy torpedo employed by U-Boats that travelled in a
straight line for a predetermine distance then zigzagged.
Fahnrich zur see
- (Kriegsmarine) Midshipman
- A torpedo spread.
- Term used to identify the stern deck
area of a ship.
- Six feet or 1.829 meters
- (See Echo Sounder)
- ( Kriegsmarine ) Führer der
Unterseeboote - Flag Officer for German submarines.
- The "mine" MK24 torpedo
- To disassemble without further
breakdown the major groups of a piece of ordnance for routine or
operating cleaning and oiling; as opposed to detailed stripping
which may be done only by authorized technicians.
Final Trim -
the running trim obtained after submerging, in which
the fore-and aft and over-all weights
have been so adjusted that the boat maintains the desired depth, on
an even keel, at slow speed, with minimum use of the diving planes.
- The mechanics of directing
torpedoes or gunfire.
- Engine room crewman (USN)
- U.S. submariner's nickname for a
- Fifth Naval District (USN)
Five by Five
- Loud and clear (based on a system of
indicating a radio's signal strength on a one to five scale).
- Type VII U-Boat
- An accurate ship's position
determined by obtaining star sights or bearings of known landmarks.
- An officer of the rank of Captain or
above; so called because he is entitled to fly his personal flag
which, by stars, indicates his rank.
- Anti aircraft gun
- Used in ship control language to
indicate maximum speed ahead. also means aft starboard or aft port.
- Description or state of a battery
which has been discharged.
submarine used during WWII. Approx 250 were built between 1940 and
- Fill tanks until the decks are
- Large Kingston valves located in the
bottoms of the ballast tanks to admit water; these valves were
removed for wartime patrolling.
Filling a tank through flood ports, open flood valves, or other sea
- Small fleet of small vessels.
- General term for articles which will
float when jettisoned. Floating debris left on the surface by a
- German for flying boat aircraft.
- Sonar device used by US submarines
to detect mines.
- Vernacular for forecastle
- Anything with a pleasant aroma
noticeable after several weeks on patrol.
Foo Foo Dust
- Talcum powder
- A forward upper deck extending to
- An ordered arrangement of two or
more ships or units proceeding together.
- Toward the bow; opposite of aft.
- Variable ballast tank used to adjust
the submarine's weight and tilting movement.
Schedule - (Fox Sked) Radio
broadcast schedule of messages for U.S. submarines.
- British noisemaker towed behind
ships to fool German acoustic torpedoes.
- (Kriegsmarine) Captain - junior
- (Kriegsmarine) U-Boat at sea that
has entered an operational area.
- Nickname for the 20 mm gun platform
just forward of the bridge cowl on U.S. submarines.
- Fleet Radio Unit Melbourne (USN)
- Fleet Radio Unit Pacific (USN)
Fuel ballast tanks
- Designed to be utilized as fuel oil tanks for increased
operating range. When empty, they may be converted to main ballast
tanks, providing additional freeboard and thereby increasing surface
- A prescribed speed that is greater
then standard but less then flank.
- (Kriegsmarine) FT - German reference
to a wireless telegraphy radio transmission/reception.
- (Kriegsmarine) Navy radioman
- A ship's smokestack.
- German torpedo propelled by a
compressed air system.
- German battery driven torpedo.
- Catching up or drawing ahead when
pursuing a ship.
- A ship's kitchen.
- A sea going Gremlin
- Any ladder or stairway providing
ship to dock or ship to boat access.
- Gasoline driven submarines of the
era before diesel engines.
- Battle stations for all hands.
- Torpedoes properly directed toward a
target and as a matter of course, hitting.
- Name applied to the German T5
acoustic torpedo by the Allies.
GQ - General
- A layer, where the temperature of
the sea water, and to a lesser degree its density, changes abruptly,
thus sending sound waves of echo-ranging clear of a submarine below
- Shortest route, following the arc of
the earths surface.
- (Kriegsmarine) Grand Admiral,
corresponding to Fleet Admiral (USN).
- Measure of a ship's size based on
volume: The internal volume of a ship (except passenger vessels)
converted to tonnage based on one ton to 100 cubic feet.
- Gross Register Tonnage; the total
displacement of a ship.
- In general, the ship on which other
ships take station when forming, or keep station when formed up.
- The angle between the fore-and-aft
axis of your own sub and final track of the torpedo, measured
clockwise from the bow of your boat; the angle set into each
torpedo's gyro so that its steering mechanism will bring it to its
proper course and hit the point of aim.
- Compass used to determine true
directions by means of gyroscopes.
- Compass cards
electrically connected to the gyrocompass and repeating the same
- Automatic steering device connected
to the repeater of a gyrocompass; designed to hold a ship on its
course without a helmsman.
H-Hour - Time at which an operation is to commence
Hard Dive -
Dive at maximum down
Gun charge that does not fire immediately upon pulling the trigger,
but some time later.
opening in a deck.
- (Hydrophone effect)
Underwater sound such as propeller cavitation by a surface ship or
the path of a torpedo, detected by hydrophone and shown on
instruments having a certain bearing or range.
compartment on the ship containing toilet facilities. Also the
A type of depth charge employed against U-Boats which were thrown
ahead of the ASW ship. These devices were designed to explode on
- name given to sound made by FM sonar.
Nickname for the group of US submarines equipped with FM sonar that
conducted mine detection missions and/or penetrated the Sea of Japan
US nickname for Japanese mine
mechanism for steering a ship; wheel or tiller.
- (Huff Duff) High
Frequency Direction Finder which allowed for the triangulation of
the source of radio transmissions.
Higgins Boat -
An amphibious landing craft (USN)
- His/Her Majesty's
HMAS - His/Hers
Majesty's Australian Ship
Space below decks for storage of ballast, cargo etc.
Description of a ship beyond the horizon with only its masts or
Hunter - Killer
- A coordinated,
aggresive anti-submarine operation by surface ships and/or air units
to hunt out and destroy submarines.
Cipher used by U-Boats in establishing the daily setting of the
Enigma/Schlussel M cipher machine.
- Underwater sound detection device.
- (see bow planes)
cryptanalysis unit (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Class of 2,100-ton displacement
- Interior Communications - Telephone
or communications inside of a ship.
- Interior Communications switchboard.
Handles AC electricity for the gyrocompasses, TDC, interior
communications as well as other uses.
- Intelligence Center Pacific Ocean
- Imperial Japanese Navy
Japanese Army Air force
Joint Army Navy Assessment Committee
Goods which sink when thrown overboard. Opposite of flotsam.
The throw goods overboard.
Joint Intelligence Center Pacific Ocean Area
- (JK-QC)A dual head,
passive/active sound device for supersonic frequencies (too high for
the unaided ear).
Japanese Naval Air Force
- Passive, fixed head
sound gear installed in mid 1944; An amplified sonic receiver.
- Heavy cable with a
cutting edge, stretched from bow to stern over the submarine's
conning tower, to cut or deflect underwater obstacles like nets.
Diminutive forms of the naval rank Kapitänleutnant.
longitudinal structure of the ship, located at the extreme bottom.
To reprimand severely.
KIA - Killed in
A valve from the bottom of the ballast tank to the sea.
- The Japanese current
ship's speed measured as one nautical mile per hour.
high speed turning maneuver which can return a solid sonar echo
- (Kriegsmarine) Rear
- (KM) The German Navy
- Shin bruises caused by the collision
with ladders and combings. A common ailment.
- Any kind of arrangement or set-up.
"That was a bum lash up."
LCC - Landing
Craft Command Ship (USN)
LCI - Landing
Craft Infantry: capable of carrying 200 infantrymen
LCM - Landing
Craft Mechanized (USN)
LCT - Landing
craft Tank (USN)
LCVP - Landing
Craft Vehicles and Personnel (USN)
LCVR - Landing
Craft Vehicles Ramped (USN)
Amphibious Assault Ship (USN)
LST - Landing
Ship Tank (USN)
- Direction away from the wind.
- Assistant or relief helmsman.
- In the direction that the wind is
going or downwind side of an object.
Leutnant zur see
- (Kriegsmarine) Lieutenant Junior
- The officer rank between Lieutenant
Commander and Lieutenant Junior Grade (USN).
- The officer
rank between Commander and Lieutenant (USN)
- the officer
rank between Lieutenant and Ensign. (USN)
- Scalloped opening where the
superstructure meets joins the ballast tanks or pressure hull.
- An officer who is eligible for
command at sea.
- Transverse inclination of a vessel.
- A ledger used to record important
daily data and ship's occurrences and activities.
- Dropping behind when pursuing a
- See Momsen lung
- Master at Arms - Naval designation
for the person responsible for discipline and housekeeping in crew
- Compartment used for the stowage of
ammunition and explosives.
- The principle ships of a formation
(other then a convoy) that is being escorted by warships.
Tanks - Tanks that are provided primarily
to furnish buoyancy when the vessel is in surface condition and that
are habitually carried completely filled when the vessel is
submerged, except tanks whose main volume is above the surface
- Uppermost complete deck of the ship.
Areas below this are watertight.
- US Navy Department main headquarters
building at 7th St. and Constitution Ave. in Washington, DC.
Main vents -
Valves operated hydraulically, or
manually, for venting the main ballast tanks when flooding. They are
located in the top of the risers of the main ballast tanks.
- A change of speed, course, formation
or any combination of these to adjust position or take a new
- Call used in comparing watches,
bearings or compass readings.
- A series of electric powered,
wakeless torpedoes with a speed of 27 knots and a range of 4,000
- A series of two speed, steam powered
torpedoes running at 46 knots with a range of 4,500 yards in high
power or 31.5 knots and a range of 9,000 yards in low power. (USN)
- A series of two speed, steam powered
torpedoes similar to the MK 14. (USN)
- A suffix to the names of most
Japanese merchant ships; hence in submarine language any Japanese
ship except a warship.
- The highest speed at which a ship is
capable of proceeding when using full power.
- To eat; a group of men eating
- Location of the crew's eating area.
- An enlisted man who runs errands for
the OOD. (USN)
- 39.37 inches
MIA - Missing
- A student officer.
Minnie the Mermaid
- A much discussed character who turns
out to be a submerged mural in the diving tower at the New London
- A powder charge that fails to fire
when the trigger is pulled.
- A type of German radar detector.
- Nickname for a type of U-Boat used
for re-supply and re-fueling other U-Boats.
- Mid Ocean Meeting Point south of
Iceland where US and British naval escorts exchanged responsibility
for guarding Atlantic convoys . Also called "chopline" (change of
- A breathing apparatus to permit an
individual to breathe normally while escaping from a sunken
submarine; also serves as a gas mask in the submarine and as a life
preserver on the surface. (USN)
- Middle of Target
Mother Ships -
Ordinary ships (usually submarines) that carried "midget" subs (AKA
SPS - Special Purpose Submarines) or special forces to sites close
to their attack objective.
- To assemble the crew; roll call.
- Naval Air Station (USN)
- 1.1516 statute miles (6,080.2 feet).
- Non Commissioned Officer (USN)
- US cryptanalysis unit (Navy HQ,
- A condition attained when the
submarine weighs more then the water it displaces, thus causing it
- Floodable tank used to impart
negative buoyancy to a submarine to make it dive rapidly. (USN)
- Two or more vessels moored alongside
- A barrier of steel mesh used to
protect harbors and anchorages from submarines, torpedoes, or
- A condition attained when the
submarine weight equals the weight of the water it displaces, thus
requiring small inputs from the diving planes to maintain trim.
- Naval General Staff (IJN)
- The CO's written orders to the OOD
while the ship is underway at night including proper speed and
course and what to do in the event of an emergency or enemy contact.
- Naval Operating Base (USN)
- An approach course
perpendicular to the bearing of the target ship.
- An approach course perpendicular to
the track of the target ship.
- The speed at which ships proceed if
a signaled speed is not ordered.
Ocean Going Bellhop
- Slang nickname for a US Marine.
- Term to denote the presence of a
ship at its assigned location.
- Office of Naval Intelligence (USN)
- (Kriegsmarine) Oberbefehlshaber der
Marine - Supreme Commander in Chief of the German Navy.
Oberfänrich zur see
- (Kriegsmarine) Ensign
Lieutenant Senior Grade
- A single order to maneuvering.
- The submarine announcing system;
includes the collision, diving, and general alarms
- Identification manual used by U.S.
submarines and aircraft to assist in classifying Japanese merchant
- Officer in Charge (USN)
- A tanker; a vessel especially
designed to carry fuel.
- Taking fuel on board.
- A petty officer in charge of fuel
- Waterproof clothing.
- A seaman's term for the captain of
the ship or other naval activity.
On the Coral
- On the bottom.
- Officer of the Deck (USN). The
officer on watch in charge of the ship.
Office of Chief of Naval Operations
- (OpOrd) Secret instructions and
restrictions governing a submarine's war patrol. (USN)
- The highest speed at which a ship is
required to proceed during a particular operation or during a stated
- Communications Security Section
- Office of Strategic Services (US)
- Officer in Tactical Command (USN):
The senior line officer present, or the officer to whom tactical
command has been delegated.
Out of Trim
- To carry a list or to be down by the
head or stern.
- Streamlined, moveable shutter-like
doors covers over the torpedo tubes.
- Nautical term for the ceiling of an
- The angle between the North-South
line and the fore-and-aft axis of your own boat, measured clockwise
from North to your own boat's bow.
- Patrol Craft of about half the
length of a Destroyer Escort. (USN)
- Prospective Commanding Officer
making a refresher patrol prior to taking command of his own
PBY - Patrol
Bomber aircraft (USN)
- nautical term for a corridor or
aisle on board ships.
- A navigational device for taking
bearings; consisting of a moveable ring, graduated like a compass
card, and a pair of sighting vanes.
- An extendable, tubelike optical
instrument containing an arrangement of prisms, mirrors and lenses
that permitted a submarine to view the surface sea from a submerged
position or to observe at a level above the eye.
- The submerged depth at which the
periscope extends two to three feet out of the water.
- Upright supports around the
periscopes where they protrude above the conning tower; Lookouts are
stationed on horizontal platforms mounted on the shears.
- Patrol Gunboat (USN)
Picket Boat - A
very fast, sturdy and seaworthy US Coast Guard craft, used primarily
for law enforcement
- U.S. submariner's nickname for a
- Nickname for an old type of
submarine especially an S Class, so called because of its appearance
next to a tender. The term equally fitted the living conditions
aboard the boat. (USN)
- Instructions passed over the general
announcing system (1MC) to commence an activity.
- Pitometer Log; the scientific name
for the speed log manufactured by Bendix.
- The vertical rise and fall of a
vessel's bow or stern caused by a head sea or a following sea.
A platoon is four squads - generally three rifle squads and one
weapons squad, normally armed with machine guns and anti-tank
weapons. Lieutenants lead most platoons, and the second-in-command
is generally a sergeant first class.
- A point of the compass, accurately
11¼°, employed by lookouts to report the direction of sightings,
with each lookout's quadrant divided into eight points.
Pointer - The
member of a gun crew who controls the vertical elevation of the gun
when it is being aimed. (USN)
- Valve to vent residual torpedo
firing impulse air back into the boat to reduce telltale bubbles on
the surface. (USN)
- Nautical term indicating the left
side or in the direction toward the left.
- Condition a submarine is in when its
submerged displacement weighs less then than water it displaces,
thus causing it to rise to the surface.
POW - Prisoner
- Plan Position Indicator of the
surface search radar; on which the image appears as viewed from
above with the submarine at its center.
- The submarines inner hull and
conning tower; built to withstand the sea pressure at a stipulated
test depth plus a generous safety factor.
Pull the Plug
- To submerge
- The echo ranging
portion of a sound head.
decoy merchant vessel with flotation cargo and hidden deck armament
designed to lure a surfaced submarine to close in destruction.
Pharmacist's Mate, also called "Doc'
The arc of 45 degrees to either side horizontally from the stern of
Quick dive -
The rapid submerging a submarine while running on main engines.
- (Radio Detection and Ranging) the
principle and method whereby objects are located by radio waves; a
radio wave is transmitted, reflected by an object and illuminated on
an oscilloscope or cathode ray screen.
- A ship stationed a distance from the
main force for the purpose of picking up by radar the approach of
- Royal Air Force (British)
- Royal Australian Navy
- The distance in yards from a ship to
a target. A navigational range consists of two markers, some
distance apart, located on a known line of true bearing.
- Grade of official standing of
enlisted men. (USN)
- Name given to an occupation which
requires basically related aptitudes, training, experience,
knowledge and skills.
- Grade of official standing for
commissioned and warrant officers.
- Radio Direction finder (see HF/DF)
- the officer rank between Vive
Admiral and Captain.
- A gear train used to reduce the
input speed from the main propulsion motors to a lower output speed
in the ship's propeller shafts.
- Bearing in degrees measured
clockwise from own ship's bow. The bow of the ship is taken as 000°
and an imaginary circle is drawn clockwise around the ship; objects
are the reported as being along a line of bearing through any degree
division of the circle.
Ride the Vents
- A surface condition in which the
main ballast tanks are prevented from completely flooding by the
closed main vents which prevent the escape of air. (USN)
dive - A state of readiness in which
procedures for compensating the vessel and preparing the hull
openings and machinery so that the vessel can be quickly and safely
submerged and controlled by flooding the main ballast tanks, using
the diving planes, and operating on battery-powered main motors has
been achieved. (USN)
Ring the Bell
- To hit a target or be hit.
- The side to side movement of a ship
- Royal Navy (British)
- Royal Naval Reserve
- A 900-ton displacement Japanese
- The submerging of a submarine while
running on battery power. (USN)
- A special ballast tank with the
strength of the pressure hull; blown and sealed off in an emergency
to compensate for flooding within the pressure hull. (USN)
110', wooden hulled Submarine chaser
- The propeller of a ship.
- The act of deliberately sinking a
- Nautical term for water fountain.
Also refers to rumors and gossip, said to originate around the water
- Non directional air search radar.
Sea Bag - Large
canvas bag used for stowing gear and clothing
Sea Frontier Forces
- Forces of escort and patrol craft, organized principally for
combating the submarine menace in coastal sea areas.
- (also Land Return) RADAR
interference caused by the return echoes from sea or land. Sometimes
- State of the sea regarding wave
action and height of swells.
- A unit of a division.
- Type IX U-Boat
- An arrangement of ships and or ASW
aircraft whose function it is to protect the main body.
Nickname for US Navy Construction Battalions (CBs)
Secure for Sea
- Extra prescribed lashing on all
- A code indicated by the position of
the arms; hand flags are use to improve readability.
Set the Watch
- The order to station the first
Sewer Pipe -
Nickname for a submarine (USN)
Sewer Pipe Sailor
- Nickname for a submariner (USN)
- Cruise of a newly commissioned or
overhauled ship to test and adjust all machinery and equipment and
to train the crew as a working unit.
- A man who has crossed the equator
and been initiated. (USN)
- A general term for large ocean going
craft or vessels.
- False image appearing on a radar
screen to the right and left of a contact.
- The prescribed direction of travel
of a ship or tactical organization.
- The speed at which a formation has
been ordered to proceed.
- An unarmed, unescorted enemy vessel
- Surface search radar; shows range
and bearing to contact. (USN)
- A continuation of the keel aft to
protect the propeller.
- The captain of any ship. Also to act
as the captain of a ship.
- (Sound Navigation and Ranging) A
device for locating objects (esp. submarines) underwater by emitting
vibrations similar to sound and measuring the time taken for those
vibrations to bounce back from anything in their path. Equivalent to
- Senior Officer Present (USN)
- Senior Officer Present Afloat (USN)
- South Pacific Command (USN)
- South West Pacific Command (USN)
- The man who works the sound devices.
Similar to "Chips" or "Sparks".
- A tube through which a diesel
submarine breathes while submerged.
Nickname for the ship's radio man
- A small. ramshackle vessel.
- A paint scheme characterized by
long, thin sharp edged bands of various colors that obfuscate the
form of a warship at sea.
- A number of torpedoes fired at the
same target but at different angles.
Squad - (USMC, US Army) A small military unit
consisting of 10 to 11 soldiers or Marines.
- Submarine (USN)
- Radar periscope (USN)
- Periscope range finder; target's
height or length must be known to determine range or angle on the
bow. respectively. (USN)
- The amount of rudder angle required
to cause a ship to make a turn within a certain standard tactical
- Nautical term indicating the right
side or in the direction toward the right.
- The prescribed position of the ship
in relation to the guide.
dive - The submerging of a submarine
without headway or sternway.
- Nautical term for minimum forward
speed that will provide safe steering capability or directional
- The extreme forward line of the bow.
- The rearmost area of the ship.
Opposite the bow.
- The pair of horizontal rudders at
the submarines stern, used to control the angle of the boat and when
used in coordination with the bow planes, to maintain or change
- Similar to a fan or a spread, but
referring to a number of depth charges dropped in a single run of
the patrolling surface ship at regular intervals.
condition - Designates a condition of a
submarine in which all fixed portions of the vessel are completely
submerged and the variable ballast is so adjusted that the submarine
has approximately neutral buoyancy and zero fore-and-aft trim.
- Submarine Squadron (USN)
condition - A condition when the submarine
has sufficient positive buoyancy to permit running on her main
- Structure built above the ship's
- German acoustic torpedo, called GNAT
by the allies
- The angle between the North-South
line and the fore-and-aft axis of the target, measured clockwise
from North to the target's bow.
- A temporary grouping of units under one commander; formed for the
purpose of carrying out a specific mission or operation.
- Talk Between Ships
- Target Bearing
Transmitter, one forward and one aft of the bridge; receives
binoculars for transmission of bearings to the conning tower.
Data Computer. Keeps the range to the target current and displays
the respective aspects of target and own ship; its angle-solver
section computes the proper gyro angle and continuously sets the
angle into all torpedoes readied for firing.
- A man who handles
the sound powered phone during drills.
auxiliary vessel that supplies and repairs ships or aircraft.
Nickname for a Destroyer
- The attempt by German U-Boats to destroy more ships then the
Allies could build.
- Exposed or semi-exposed, non
watertight areas of the ship. The main deck.
- The heart of the steering mechanism
of a torpedo.
- The distance in yards which the
torpedo travels from the tube to the target.
- The explosive in torpedo warheads; a
combination of Cyclonite, TNT and metal flakes.
- The path of a vessel.
- The angle between the fore-and-aft
axis of the target and the torpedo track, measured from the target
bow to starboard or port.
- The distance gained at right angles
- The balancing of a submarine's
weight and equilibrium underwater.
- Reduce buoyancy until the boat is
running virtually awash.
- A dual piston pump for shifting
ballast and for pumping to sea.
Trim Tanks -
The variable ballast tanks located nearest
the bow and stern of the boat and are used to provide fore-and-aft
- Gyrocompass bearing, or bearings in
degrees measured clockwise from earth's true north.
True Target Bearing
- The angle between the North-South
line and the LOS, measured clockwise from the North.
- A German submarine, generally
larger then 200 tons.
- A priority message with information
derived from a decoded Japanese transmission.
- A single ship or aircraft, or a
small number of ships and/or aircraft operating as an entity. Thus,
2 submarines (units) form a section, 2 sections form a division, 2
divisions form a squadron.
- The German submarine (U-Boat) fleet
- "Submarine" in German, abbreviated
as U-Boat in English.
- United States Coast Guard
- United States Navy
- United States Navy Reserve
USS - United
Tanks - Tanks that are not
habitually carried completely filled when submerged and whose
contents may be varied to provide weight compensation. Variable
ballast tanks are constructed to withstand full sea pressure. (USN)
Vessel Ton -
100 cubic feet
- The officer rank between Admiral and
Designation for USMC Fighter Squadron
- Formation of water turbulence and
air bubbles left by a moving ship.
- The shipboard officers' mess and
lounge. Also refers to the full complement of officers aboard a
- A period of duty, usually four hours
in duration. Watches call for a variety of Navy skills and are of
many types: Quarterdeck watch, messenger watch, damage control
watch, signal watch, radio watch etc. Standard Navy watches are:
First Watch - 2000 to 2400; Midwatch - 0000 to 0400; Morning watch -
0400 to 0800; Forenoon Watch - 0800 to 1200; Afternoon Watch 1200 to
1600; First Dogwatch 1600 to 1800; Second Dogwatch - 1800 to 2000.
- An officer regularly assigned to
duty in charge of a watch or a portion thereof; for example, the OOD,
or the engineering officer of the watch.
Watch, Quarter and
listing of personnel duty stations for all ship's routine and
- Water taken into a torpedo tube
after firing, to compensate for the loss of weight of the torpedo.
- A ships movement through the water.
Weather Deck -
The uppermost deck extending from side to side, in any part of the
WIA - Wounded
- The open, railed platform on the
after part of a U-Boat bridge. Similar to a US submarine's cigarette
- A group of submarines acting as a
WRT Tanks -
The WRT, or water round torpedo, tanks are variable ballast
tanks, located in the forward and after torpedo rooms, for flooding
or draining the torpedo tubes. (USN)
Y Gun - A two
barreled anti-submarine gun used to launch depth charges. (USN)
Yard - A spar
running athwartships from a mast; Also short for shipyard.
Yardarm - The
outboard end of a yard.
- An electric lamp fastened to the yardarm, near its' end; This lamp
is operated by a key at a signal station (signal bridge etc) so as
to transmit Morse code.
Yawl - A small
craft used primarily for planting and collecting submarine mines.
Japanese Zero fighter plane or bomber.
Zero Ward -
Where wounded, sick and dying patients were sent when nothing could
be done to save them (USN)
WW II US Navy
WW II US Navy
ratings abbreviations, pay grades and ship organization